Wider solar power deployment needed in Australia

9th Mar 2012

The deployment of solar panels needs to be more widespread in Australia in order to help lower the cost of renewable energy, an expert believes.

Matthew Wright, executive director of Beyond Zero Emissions, highlighted that there has so far been a "pushback against feed-in tariff legislation", despite solar power proving itself to be invaluable.

At present, solar is proving cost-neutral as generators are lowering their prices and seeing reduced demand for their wholesale electricity.

Mr Wright argued in his article for Climate Spectator that in order for solar power to halve in price all over the world, then efforts must be made to install systems in the western world.

One of the best ways to achieve this is through feed-in tariffs, which have proved a success in Germany and China, among other countries.

Australia therefore needs to follow suit, providing additional research and development has been carried out among private, public and government institutions.

The challenge will then be to encourage public support in solar panels, which will be best achieved through emphasising the cost-saving benefits on electricity bills.

In light of this, Mr Wright said that improving the uptake of solar power through better feed-in tariffs "should be an urgent national priority".

This follows the release of a report from the Bureau of Resources and Energy Economics (BREE) entitled Energy in Australia 2012, which identified that solar power is becoming an increasing part of the country's energy make-up.

Australia was named the ninth-largest energy producer in the world, as it accounts for approximately 2.5 per cent of global production.

In 2009-10, renewable sources were found to generate eight per cent of the country's energy – although growth is expected in the near future.

Professor Quentin Grafton from BREE said: "Australia's primary energy consumption is projected to grow by one per cent a year over the period from 2008–09 to 2034–35, compared with the 1.6 per cent growth over the last decade."

Australia is far from the only country to be recognising its solar ambitions, as a number of large-scale projects are planned all over the world to help lower emissions and meet energy needs.

For example, a 16.2MWp utility scale solar power plant is currently undergoing construction in Bulgaria and is expected to be completed in the second quarter of this year.

Posted by Bob Dawson


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